The New York Times reports: The separatist demonstrations again churning through eastern Ukraine have raised fears of a Crimean-style invasion by the 40,000 Russian troops coiled just over the Russian border. But Moscow’s goals are more subtle than that, focused on a long-range strategy of preventing Ukraine from escaping Russia’s economic and military orbit, according to political analysts, Kremlin allies and diplomats interviewed this week.
Toward that end, the Kremlin has made one central demand, which does not at first glance seem terribly unreasonable. It wants Kiev to adopt a federal system of government giving far more power to the governors across Ukraine.
“A federal structure will ensure that Ukraine will not be anti-Russian,” said Sergei A. Markov, a Russian political strategist who supports the Kremlin. [Continue reading…]